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Journal Writing Project Wikileaks galore

Fri, Dec 3rd, 2010
Posted in Journal Student Writing Project

The amount of information and the access to this information is expanding at an exponential rate due to technological advancements and the growing understanding of the world around us. Information can be true, false, natural, or fabricated. As the global human network expands to even more remote corners of the earth, the exchanging of information grows in quantity as well as frequency. Twenty-four hour news stations and Internet websites pipe information into the businesses, governments, and homes of our world. As we are continually bombarded with information, it is up to each individual person to sift through the sound and video bites, articles, and photographs that make up our information database and discern what is relevant to our lives and what will influence us, consciously or not. Important decisions are made and not made based on information. Information can raise moral, ethical, and political issues and shed light on the previously unknown. With this epic amount of information available to us now and also in the future, where does society as a whole need to draw the line concerning when information is too much?

Wikileaks is an online document archive website started up in 2006 that specializes in, as website director Julian Assange told BBC, "allowing whistle-blowers and journalists who have been censored to get material out to the public." In other words, the website allows anonymous sources to expose the dirty laundry of world governments. The United States has never been more aware of Wikileaks and the power they hold over the information network than they have become within the past year.

The extent to which the United States has been involved in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and the relations between the U.S.'s embassies and other countries has become better understood, due to hundreds of thousands of secret documents that have been leaked from various sources. These sources are largely suspect currently and will face the wrath of the United States government and Department of Defense when and if they ever come out. Meanwhile, the larger issue at hand is the effects that these documents could cause.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the leaks, "an attack on the international community, the alliances and partnerships, the conventions and negotiations that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity," according to the BBC. Mr. Assange, meanwhile, attests that the leaks are only telling the truth. Many other countries' governments have been vindicated beside the U.S.'s and many foreign leaders have been portrayed as anything but honorable. Simply put, the information on Wikileaks has exposed nerve endings within the global community that had previously been safely covered.

Many believe that Wikileaks should be stopped before causing anymore harm to national security and those who have been called out by the new information. However, stopping Wikileaks would require a complex change of policy in Sweden for that is where a majority of the site is hosted; Sweden protects whistle-blowers such as Wikileaks within their borders. According to Mr. Assange, the world's hunger for the truth is what is keeping the site running, but at what cost? With the rise of Wikileaks, more questions about the ethics and morals involved in exposing the truth about very touchy subjects in today's culture, have also risen. Wikileaks' theme of truth may pale in comparison to what is happening and what may happen with previously strong foreign relations.

The age of information is reaching new heights each and every day. Headlining the most recent influx of information is the unabashed Wikileaks, which will no doubt continue to supply our air and radio waves with the newest scandal unearthed by an anonymous source. Though it is hard to simply become oblivious to the world around us, a slow, thoughtful, and measured approach to this new information will equate a more understanding attitude when the hammer does fall with more incredible news. Ironically, the person that emulates this the most is the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who stated that the news from Wikileaks would not change their opinion of other countries. Even though this comes from a polarizing figure in foreign policy, the idea of taking things as they come, as far as Wikileaks is concerned, is a wise one. Perhaps, one day, the world will no longer need a Wikileaks to maintain truth and honor in today's global society.

Anton Adamek is a student at Fillmore Central High School. He is one of 10 area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its twelfth year.

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